Fear is a universal human characteristic. Sometimes, this fear can manifest in different ways in situations that our mind may view as threatening.
This often happens when you feel anxious about something: that initial panic you feel when you are moving away from home, meeting new people, doing a recital, or making a speech in front of a bunch of people can be crippling. Still, somehow, some people manage to pull through and even make the most of the situation.
However, while feeling anxious is something everyone experiences every now and then, those with a social anxiety disorder have a special kind of fear.
For people with social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia or SAD), interacting with others in social situations does not come easily and, in some cases, is downright scary. This discomfort experienced from being in social situations can be a source of distress and fear.
In this article, we will be looking at social anxiety disorders as a concept and giving useful tips to kick it to the curb for good. Stay tuned.
Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder isn’t just shyness. It is an intense fear of embarrassing oneself during social occasions. If you have this fear you may be left wondering “why am I the only one going through this?”
The fact is, you aren’t. In the United States alone, 15 million people are known to be affected by this condition, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 12.1% of the population will experience the disorder at some point in their lives. That is a lot of people who have to live with a social anxiety disorder. Imagine how sad it is that people just think they are shy and not socialize because they are ‘snobs.’
The American Psychiatric Association defines social anxiety disorder as a mental disorder in which one has a persistent fear of one or more social situations where embarrassment may occur, and the fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual threat posed by the social status as determined by the person’s cultural norms. It is a chronic mental illness that not just prevents people from making friends, contrary to what people perceive or portray it has.
Tips For Getting Rid Of Social Anxiety Disorder
Ask For Help
Sometimes, social anxiety may be overwhelming, and often, people with social anxiety are left feeling down in the dumps because of it. We understand that during the battle for control over your life, it could get like that full of angry questions and unhappiness.
However, do not despair or shut yourself in. There are a lot of avenues for you to vent your frustrations and strive for better.
- You can always meet up with a mental health professional about your fears and your condition.
- If you are too ashamed to from a doctor, you can start small by contacting mental health helplines to address the issue.
- You can supplement with asking mental health groups that cater for people with social anxiety.
Have A Sound Support System
- They could accompany you to seek professional help.
- Go with you for a support group meeting,
- Be there when you are frustrated and do not know what to do.
- Either way, you need a support system, as you cannot rely on yourself all through the road to recovery.
Join A Support Group
There is something about seeing a lot of people on the same journey as you. Somehow, you do not feel so alone anymore. You get to see them push against the tide towards wellness, motivating you to do the same.
So, does joining a social anxiety support group make your recovery a lot smoother and more fun? Yes!
Initially, being in a room full of strangers could make you want to be sick and bolt for the door. But these are people having the same struggles as you, the thought of you coming also makes them feel like making a run for it. They are a constant reminder that you are not alone.
Having the courage to go to a meeting or more is a massive step in the right direction.
Stop Being Hard On Yourself
Everyone is going through one thing or the other. In your case, it is a social anxiety disorder. If you keep putting yourself under undue pressure to get better by setting unrealistic expectations and beating yourself up if any slip-up happens during a social situation, you could hinder your growth process and even worsen the situation.
No one said it is going to be easy, and things like this do not leave with a snap of the finger or with one self-affirmation. Be patient with yourself. Some days may be carefree, some hard, but don’t give up. You can pull through.
Treating social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is usually done through a mix of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. Cognitive-beavioral therapy is a kind of talk therapy in which a mental health specialist helps the patient examine and un-do the patterns of negative thoughts in their head that may be underlying their condition.
Sessions also involve learning coping skills, such as relaxation exercises, so that when the person starts feeling their anxiety again, they can deal with it better without becoming overwhelmed.